BLOGS AND ARTICLES FROM THE POS SOLUTIONS TEAM

Point of Sale Software

How to find 5 km radius from your shop with these interactive sites

POS SOFTWARE

Well, there are many changes to everyone, there are many restrictions on us because of COVID-19.

In Victoria, the big one is that people can only shop 5 km from home. What can they do, nothing but stay strong? There are plenty with worse problems now then this restriction.

 

 

If you want to know your feeder area for the shop now in Victoria, there are many sites out there that can help you.

I went through them, and these interactive maps can show a five-kilometre radius around your shop. I picked them as they appear to be the easiest and best ones to use. Have a shot and see which one works best for you.

https://www.okimap.com/1kmfromhome/

https://2kmfromhome.com/5km

The Age newspaper

Put in your address into the search bar, click 5 km, and a circle will appear showing your radius. The people in this area can visit your shop for shopping once a day.

If you find some better ones, let me know.

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Tips on how to deal with customers with disabilities

POS SOFTWARE

Here are some tips on how to deal with customers with disabilities

There are a lot of people with disabilities. For example, mental health condition, mobility impairment, they are very short, have dementia, etc. 

If you think of it, we are talking a sizable percentage of the community.

It can be hard to deal with such people in retail. 


I know. I remember while working in a shop having to deal with a few deaf people that came in. I did not have a clue on how to handle the situation. When they asked questions, they were hard to understand. When I tried to give them answers, it was very hard. I did my very best, but they were not pleased, I could see with my handling of the situation. 

I thought of this when I came across this pamphlet by the British Association of Convenience Stores. It gave me some good ideas. Just the wording how to describe such people was interesting. 

You may find it useful too, you will find it here let me know what you think?

 

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Is it worth it to overclocking your computers?

POS SOFTWARE

 

Overclocking is about increasing the speed of your computer. 

What most overclocking get on a modern computer, get I would say at best 5% to 10% better. Often I have seen figures of 1% making it not worth doing. But anyway this is how it works. Computer manufacturer designs a computer with a specification. They then collect the components from many people and puts them together to make a computer. 

Today what happens is that components vary, the manufacturer specifications are the minimum. So, for example, I have parts in storage that can do 100, you want 90, well if I do not have 90, so I may give you some 100s. Some many of these components are better then what was asked by the manufacturer. This happens all the time. We live in a world where we see components vary in the computers in the same production run. 

Also, reputable manufacturer tends to underestimate many of their specifications, to cover themselves. Plus engineers tend to build to the lowest specifications. 

Another point is that a computer designed as an all-rounder, to do a whole lot of tasks. Yet your computer only does a few jobs so may get your computer to run faster by turning off some functions.

So what overclocking does is try to run the computer faster then the processor is designed to do.

Now there was a time when you needed a lot of specialised knowledge to do this but any more. Overclocking software exists that does most of the tasks now. Check your system board and your supplier will have a piece of software that can do it for you. 

But there is always at least one but....

Even if overclocking doesn't do any harm, it could still void your warranty. If you are thinking of overclocking a computer under warranty, you better check with your supplier first.

If you are doing a lot of data processing, most of the speed lost is in the hard drive and its severe bottleneck. So speeding up the processor often does little. 

What you are doing is running your computer faster. This will reduce the life expectancy of your computer. This will also increase your computer's power consumption, which means more heat. So I do suggest if you overclock that you buy a better cooling unit for your computer. 

Why do it, well overclocking your processor speeds up your computer. That's a pretty good reason.

You may as such keep a computer going for another year or so, and if you do it, you will find that its a lot of fun. 

Make sure you do not kill your computer, so start with a "light" overclock. Say about 5%, try it out and see if it works for you. Then when you get the hang of it, go a bit higher but stop at 10% unless you know your stuff.

I overclocked my laptop. It works fine now, but I cannot run chrome on it for long. So I run another browser opera because otherwise, the laptop gets too hot with extended use. As I said, there is often a price to pay.

 

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Checkout these photos of the new hard drives

POS SOFTWARE

In shops, you often need to put computers into small places. If you think about it, a computer often in a shop is sitting on the most valuable space. Its the prime selling area. So it is great that we can get them smaller. I am sure many of you will be shocked how small we can build computers. Yes, we build computers, as most point of sale systems do need unique computer configurations.

Check out these hard drives.

 

This one is a 256GB SSD.

This is changing as we are getting more orders for a terabyte hard drive as the difference in price is so small now that most people prefer the larger size.

The advantages

-They are faster, much faster. When I switch a computer on with these hard drives, I am stunned how fast they startup now. Now our computer processor and our software speeds have increased, so it is the hard drive that is slowing down your system! That is wasting your time, your customers and your staffs time. These drives can help.

-They use less electricity. The hard drive does consume a large amount of the power a computer uses. Less electricity saves money.

-As such, they make for a quieter computer. The electricity used in a computer becomes heat and as its less electricity.

- As it uses less heat,  the computer fan does not need to run as much. What often bugs me if I am on a computer for a long time is the sound of its fan. Besides being annoying, I am sure it is having a long term effect on my ears.

- They do not have any moving parts. There are lots of small, moving parts inside your hard drive e.g. magnetic heads, spindles, and spinning platters. The failure of any one of these parts is the leading cause of hard drive failures and so computer failures. This will save on maintenance.

As such for our users, we recommend them switching over to these drives when they do upgrades.

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As Face Mask Sales Skyrocket, what are you doing?

POS SOFTWARE

I got quite a few enquiries about my post on marketing face masks, so after talking to a few people here are my thoughts.

The spread of coronavirus is driving the demand for face masks. 

"The global face mask market size was valued at $1,523.0 million in 2019, and is estimated to reach $ 2,455.4 million by 2027 with a compound annual growth rate of 4.4% from 2021 to 2027."

The industry is looking at an annual growth rate for disposable face masks of 53% for the next few years. 

This is in a high growth rate industry with high margins! So as well as traditional brands like 3M, who are going flat out, many others are entering this space. If them, why not you too?

It sells in many shops.

 

Interested, then you should, of course, do some research first. 

Check out what is for sale in your local area, talk with your staff, customers, etc. Try to figure out your niche. Actually, why not try a few niche markets and see how they work out for you. the cost of entry is minimal. $30 can buy you 100 disposable masks, worst case your family can use them. 

Of course, common sense here is required when entering the market of where to buy and how to handle it. Worst case though if you get some stock that you cannot return, and have doubts. All you need to do is use a texture to cross out the claim, e.g. as above N95 and sell it as a face mask. If you are paying about a $1 for a disposable each and selling at $2.50, you have room to discount. 

Note although there is no legal rule for sales of face masks to the public now yet, you cannot make false claims. For example, you should not sell an N50 mask as an N95. I would advise you NOT to make any medical or health claims about your product even if you believe they are correct. However, if your face mask is washable, adjustable, or reversible, then YES talk about this.

As far as I know, there is only one Australia supplier of P2 (P2 is the Australian standard which is like N95 US standard) face masks here. It is a good place to start your search. 

If you concerned about whether you are dealing in fake face masks, here are some information on how to check spotting a fake face mask and Counterfeit face masks

As far as monitoring how sales are going in your shop, it is easy, make a new family, then every so often

Go to Register reports

Register reports POINT OF SALE

Select the "Top N Stock Sales for a Given Period"

Top Stock Items Point of sale

Put in the approriate options for this family and you get a report with the sales in order of what is selling. The rule is now, to concentrate on the top sellers.

 

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How to reduce giving accidental sale discounts!

POS SOFTWARE

Sometimes we see stock sales, still going on long after they are over. This, of course, costs the shop money.  Administrative errors are one of the major causes of stock loss.

If you see this as a problem in your shop, here is a quick way to check.

Go to register reports> stock

There you will find a report "Stock on Sale Between a Given Period"

Now we will keep it quick and straightforward here.

Now what I selected here this month and ticked "Show all within period"

As you can see, some of the sales dates that are active are quite old. Now you go over and check it.

This is a very useful report. So it will be worth going through some of the more detailed options.

 

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You can see retailers are selling many face masks

POS SOFTWARE

In Victoria, face mask sales were high already, but now they have exploded. I have a client that sold out in hours his whole stock on the day it was annouced. Talking to a few of my clients interstate, they are selling well there too. 

So it is not surprising that a salesman contacts me, as wants me to use my users for marketing his company range of face masks. When I asked at a price, it became clear that the cost of his masks was higher than an online retailer. So I told him, no and to come back with a real price.

But I did some research. Here is some information that may be of interest to you if you are thinking of marketing face masks in your shops. 

There are two markets. The first is for people who want one urgently and those that want it in bulk. I am sure there would be good money in buying a packet say of 50 surgical masks, which on a quick look, I saw for under $30 on eBay with delivery and selling them individually at $2.50. Of course, do some research to see what the prices are in your area first if this interests you.

If you are looking to buy them to resell them here are some points. 

The gold standard is N95, in Australia but the problem is that it is somehow this standard is legally tied down by 3M. From what I can see, most Chinese and Australian companies use KN95, which is very similar.

N95 is the American accreditation 

KN95 is the open accreditation 

P2 is the Australian accreditation 

KMOEL is the Korean accreditation 

FFP2 is the European accreditation 

DS is the Japanese accreditation 

From what I can see, all accreditations are only slightly different, check them out here.

Of course, many people do not want an N95. Besides price and availability, many find it hard to breathe through an N95.  

And we do have a range of standards. In practice, according to studies, I saw even the lower grade are almost as good for the public. The problem here is that the Australian community looks at N95, so I would not rush to stock even a slightly inferior standard like the KN90.

Note some just use a scarf, in Victoria which is useful as you can avoid getting a $200 fine here. 

If you are interested in some history of the modern face mask, is considered to being a Chinese invention invented during the Manchurian plague of 1910. 

They were in many places mandatory during the Spanish flu too

and were as controversial then as now. 

I hope this helps and if you have any comments let me know.

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Its now July and you need a June 30 report?

POS SOFTWARE

Our software will do it for you. You do *NOT* need to go to another computer and load a select backup to get the report or figures you need.

- You do not need a unique backup for a date.

You can find the figure you need for any date with your current information.

Go to the report you want. Now in the options on the top, you will see an *AS AT DATE* (green arrow below). Enter the required date. Now our software will calculate the information you need for that date.

 

I often in the middle of the month find it useful to select the date yesterday. Once I get the figure, put in a date exactly a month earlier and see how it changed over the past month. This gives me instantly a figure.

 

 

 

 

 

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How to quickly check the GST rates you have!

POS SOFTWARE

Today with all these automatic imports and transfers, it is likely that errors are in your GST rates in your stock. Sometimes these are due to rounding errors which can cause some weird figures. Often they are attributable to mistakes made by you or your suppliers. Sometimes it is due to some GST ruling which may or may not apply to you. In any case, you need to examine these rates. 

Here is a quick way of doing it, that will take you seconds to do.

It requires either excel or you having OpenOffice, which is free and available here

If you have one of these installed, go to:- Cash register> Register reports > Stock > Details Listing (Excel) Although it is faster to check if you do all departments at once many prefer to do it by one department at a time. Now you will get this report. 


Now where the red arrow is, click on "Sort & Filter". Now click where the blue arrow is for the "Tax rate" and click all the rates that are not 0% or 10%. Now review these products. For many of you, it pays to do it again only for 0% tax items and check them too. Omit, I find this particularly useful is in tracking down GST errors.

Try and let me know if you have problems. 


 

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Integrated weight scales will save you time and money. 

POS SOFTWARE

Integrated weight scales do save many businesses time and money! 

As the scale and our POS software communicate, it is much faster. You also avoid many mistakes caused by the double-entry of figures. 

We do have a terrific range of such scales.

There are two basic types we market.

The first is the older label scales. What you do is package items in a pack., Then weight them on these scales and the scale prints a label, that can be processed at any checkout in your shop. The big plus is one scale can do the whole shop. Another is that you have control over your selling units.

The other type which I now recommend because of the dramatic price drop is the regular scale. Unlike some scales that our competitors sell, ours can read barcodes, so there is no double keying. After scanning, you weigh the item that the customer specifies. It then transfers the weight to the point of sale software which does the maths. It will then display to the customer in a large and clear type to them so they can read it too. 

With the integration of our retail weighing solution, we give you a faster checkout. 

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You need to rebooted your computers once a week

POS SOFTWARE

 

Turning off your computers at night has one immediate benefit, it saves electricity. Generally many never switch off their main computer as it is used after hours. 

The problem here is that happens is that sometimes a windows computer needs a reboot. If this reboot does not happen, weird things can happen.

As such, we recommended that all your computers get reboots regularly, at least once a week. 

- Furthermore, a reboot will flush your memory (RAM). This clears the stuff sitting uselessly in your computer memory, so making it run faster so saving you time. 

- Many software program updates occur when the computer starts up. If you never start the computer up, then they do not happen, and your computer runs old software. 

- Now with the issues on the internet, not doing a reboot will see you missing out on the security patches. 

 

If you want you can set your computer to automatically reboot at a time convenient to your business check out this video.

 

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What is the new normal in the shop?

POS SOFTWARE

A psychologist will say that it takes 2 - 8 months to create a new pattern, behaviour or routine.

It looks like this.

 

COVID-19 first started in a significant way in Australia since late February. We are now moving into the fifth month.  This is long enough to make the current buying trends entrenched in consumers’ everyday behaviours.

What I noticed was long before the government lockdown; the majority of people were in lockdown. So I am sure that even if the government lockdown stops, the majority of people will continue the lockdown.

As such retailers and marketers are concerned. They are wondering what will now be the new normal. I have attended heaps of webinars on this subject.

Here are some questions for you to consider.

Where are you heading?

Consider how will this new normal affect your retail marketing strategies?

What changes are now coming into place?

What marketing tools do you now need?

One disconcerting point which is unnerving to many that like figures and facts are that generally in Australia they see the effect overseas first. They have a warning and try to adapt. Now the whole world is in this together. We are all learning together.

If there is enough interest, we are happy to do a webinar on the new normal and how to use your point of sale to help you see what it looks like. 

 

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Is monitoring your harddrives for failure worth it?

POS SOFTWARE

A hard drive is a mechanical device, and it can fail at any time. It does not have to be internal, e.g. overvoltage, high temperature, vibration etc. can do it. 

Today many people are upgrading their main computers to SSD drives for speed. Still, they tend to forget that all hard drives degrade with use.

Yet, it is true that you can see many problems long before they can cause failure. This is true of the SSDs and the older hard drives.

The problem is that Windows if it detects a problem with hard drives fixes it. So a hard drive appears healthy to the user until it dies. Then we heard about it when a client rings us and tells us that something has happened. Then the client discovers that what was valuable was NOT the hard drive but the data stored on it.

It would be best if you had backups - something I have discussed many times. 

If you feel that you need to do is a hard disk test. Many programs can do it for you. Many hard drives come with such programs inbuilt. If not here is one free program that can do it for you. Click here Crystal Disk Info and select the Standard Edition, and run it. It will give you a lot of detail about your harddrive and as well a status report. Here you can see that the hard drive I tested is in a "Caution" status. This means this disk should be changed soon.

If you do replace it, I would recommend an SSDs (Solid-State Drives) both for speed and reliability. 

Note I have never seen a need to run this software continuously or very often, but once in a while is a good idea. 

 

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How to easily see your sales, profit and quantity sold now

POS SOFTWARE

Want to know what is happening now in your shop, in seconds? 

This is a quick and easy way to get the figures.

Go to Register reports.

In the Sales section select 

"Dissection Sales/Profitability for a given period" which is here

Fill out the dates you want, and you get a report that looks like this.

 

With the information you need. It is worthwhile to go through this report in detail as it shows a lot more. For example, how good the barcodes use is in any department, so it can help you to identify problem areas now.

 

 

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We may have something that kills 99.9% of coronaviruses soon

POS SOFTWARE


 

 

Now we are all doing what we can about COVID-19. 

We do the deep cleaning.
We set up sanitation stations.
We limit the number of people in our areas.
Enforce social distancing.

 We know we are all in this together.

These steps solve only part of the problem. For example, a deep clean means in the morning we are at zero but every day is a new day, and the clean has to be done again every day. 

But, there might be something that works. Low levels of a certain type of ultraviolet light, far-UVC light, can kill 99.9% of some types of human coronavirus. This is as effective as conventional UV light but without its harmful effects. 

More than 99.9% of seasonal coronaviruses present in airborne droplets were killed when exposed to a particular wavelength of ultraviolet light that is safe to use around humans, a new study at Columbia University Irving Medical Center has found.


Although now it is experimental, they are being tested in the US now. They are already being used in offices in the US and are going to be tested on the US subways. 

I checked the cost of such lamps is now about a $1,000 US. But if they do pass the tests, I am sure that they will go into mass production and the costs will come way down. 

Here have a read here,  here and here.

PS It could help with reducing the spread of the common cold too. 

I cannot wait to see these lamps.

 

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Make now a stocktaking sale in your shop

POS SOFTWARE

Now is a perfect time to make a stocktake sale.

Please keep it simple and focused.

Concentrate on the stock that you need to clear. Then place them in a prominent position with a sign. Make sure that people outside your shop in front can see your stocktake sale sign.

Want some ideas of what stock to use, this is the report to use.

Go to Register reports > Stock > Slow-moving Stock lines

Now call it up here, you will get a screen like this

I am going to do it by the department because it is easier to assess and collect if you work in a logical order. Here I asked for anything that I had sold less than $100 in a year and am now stocking something.

Interestingly this shop when I ran the report had over $20,000 of worthless stock in just this department.

This is just one report in our point of sale software that can help you expand your business and grow.

 

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This is a top rated integrated EFTPOS offer to think about

POS SOFTWARE

Come this time of year, at the start of the financial year, is the best time in my experience if you are thinking of upgrading your EFTPOS to do so.

This is a very good offer, 

They are waiving account keeping fees for 6 months for new to bank customers. All existing Westpac clients on PC-EFTPOS and standalone can be converted over to an advance integrated EFTPOS system.

WestPac six month free EFTPOS offer

Some functions 

  •  Fast and secure payments to save you time.
  •  Take payments anywhere in-store. 
  •  Wireless connectivity. Instant settlement into a Westpac account. 
  •  View near real-time transactions, settlements and monitor your terminal health on the Presto Dashboard. Seamlessly connects your   EFTPOS terminal to a range of Point of Sale systems. 
  •  Allows you to accept payments anywhere in-store and/or at the table, reducing queues and maximizing sales.

For a grade A, integrated EFTPOS system this is an extremely good offer which could save you a lot of money plus improve your business.

Click here for details.

To get started

Make some enquires, click here

For WestPac click here for partner details.

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Why the delay in your ePay Authorisation?

POS SOFTWARE

Afterpay Touch networks announced the closure of its virtual product section on the 30th June!

So started a mad rush, to get ePay integrated solution implemented in time. This turned out to be a continual source of frustration for all.

Unfortunately, ePay authorisation for the integrated solution was delayed. This is as their testing division was on part-time because of COVID-19. Still for obvious reasons we were authorised first, so we made the deadline.

But to implement ePay requires their authorisation. Since there is so much money involved, this is not something that they give lightly. I have had a client in the six-figure amount. As such, each account has to be approved so the average account set up time is two to four weeks after you have submitted your application. This is why we were telling people to submit their application long ago.

As such, I would suggest that you do not get very worried if you have not heard from them yet. If you have an issue please let me know.

We are all working through it and we are aware that many of you are right now are cut off from Telco products. Please it is troubling times and we are together trying to get through it.

Note if you wish to see what ePay have to offer please look here.

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What is the best printer for my home office?

POS SOFTWARE

This question gets asked a lot now particularly as now many people are working more from home and the need for a home/office printer has increased.

As a rule, I tend to recommend for home an all-in-one (MULTIFUNCTION) printer, as these print, scan, and fax. These, however, are getting a bit rare as who faxes nowadays but they are still available if you look for them. Of course, if you like so many do not have a landline now at home, its not much use to you the fax part but if faxing is very important to you then you may want to investigate some fax services that are available.

Today the scanner is very important, we are continuously being asked to scan some documents and send it by either email or fax it. Yes, you can use your mobile’s camera to do this and if you only occasionally need to do this, it maybe could be enough for you but the quality of this scan doesn’t come up to the quality of a scanner.

How often will you print?

Inkjet printers tend to dry out if not used, so if they are not used for a month there are problems. So if months could go by and no-one prints anything on that printer, then the ink can dry and the inkjet printer needs cleaning, which generally is not an easy task to do.

For this reason, overall lasers cause fewer problems as in school holidays, the kids have not used the printer, you do not print, and then when someone tries to use it the inkjet does not work without a clean, generally, what happens then the inkjet gets dumped as who can be bothered fixing it.

How much do you expect to print?

As a rule, lasers print a page cheaper than an inkjet. However, there are a few inkjet printers out there with a supertank, which have refillable tanks that offer a lower cost per page than lasers. 

This is important as the biggest expense for a printer isn’t the printer, the paper but the ink. I have known people to buy printers on special with free ink when the ink runs out, they throw out the printer. It was not worth buying the ink. So they buy another printer on special with ink.

Do you mind some bother?

Inkjet printers need ink cartridges you often need to continually restock them which is a pain.

 

Plenty of times at home, after doing some printing, just one of these ink cartridges ran out and I had to go to a shop to buy another ink cartridge.  If the shop did not stock my inkjet cartridge, there were problems. 

Do you want to print in colour?

I have given up on printing photos on my home printer, the professional printers are so much better but if want to do photos then you need an inkjet. If you just need some colour now and then, then either laser or inkjet can do the job.

The professional look of the print?

I find the quality of the text printing by lasers more precise although some of the better inkjets are good enough for most documents.

Speed

This is often not a factor in a home printer as you can always in a big run, set the printer up, go and do something else but if it is a factor lasers are faster

My conclusion is that overall, it is worth spending a little more and getting a laser all-in-one (MULTIFUNCTION) printer for home.

Hope this all helps.

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Why not study your stock shrinkage now?

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

Now you have done your stocktake.

It is a simple calculation for you or your accountant to do to determine your stock shrinkage. 


(stock shrinkage)= (opening stock) - (closing stock)+(purchases) -(Total sales at cost price) 

Generally what we do now calculate it as a percentage of sales, so it becomes = (stock shrinkage)/(Total sales) x 100% 

Although often people use, shrinkage by stock value which we do in two steps.

(Average stock holding) =((opening stock) - (closing stock))/2 

(shrinkage by stock value)= (stock shrinkage)/(Average stock holding) x 100% 

So now you know your stock shrinkage, so you have an idea of how big a problem you do have. 

As a punt, I would say that it will be about 1.4%, but it does vary a lot.

One client of ours reported that it was less than 0.1%, which is the best figure I have ever seen. I have also seen a shop which a receiver told me it was 6%, which is no wonder a receiver was there. 

I do suggest that you do these calculations because if you do not know it, what can you do to fix it? Some significant reasons would be.

1) Customer theft - The five-finger discount

2) Damage - We had one furniture shop that was recording huge numbers of damaged goods somewhere between receiving and customer delivery.

Goods that suffer a significant damage problem should be moved to a safer place. I know a shop that after calculating their damage rate stopped handling glass products.

3) Supplier fraud - Which is all too often, although many suppliers claim they are accidents, I am not so sure. The result though is that a supplier bills you for goods shipped, but for some reason, you did not get.

4) Staff theft - I have seen retailers in tears when they discovered what a valued staff member has done. In my experience, this is zero or 100% of the problem. If you have some virtual products, e.g. lotto or telco this can be a measure here. As a rule, experts say that it accounts for half of all retail shrinkage which means that its the most important item. 

5) Administrative errors - are pricing mistakes and sloppy bookkeeping.

For the others as a first guesstimate, most people assume that each of the above factors is equal.

In the retail world, shrinkage is a part of life but, does not mean you have to give away so much. 

Depending on your margins, a 1.4% stock shrinkage could amount to a 20% loss in profits. 


 

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